How does PET impact the environment?

PET is widely recycled as a material, making a large contribution to the recycling targets that are becoming requirements for plastics by most countries of the world. PET can be recovered, and the material reused, by simple washing processes or by chemical treatment to break down the PET into raw materials or intermediates. These intermediates are then purified and converted into new PET resins.  A final option for PET that is unsuitable for material recycling (e.g., very dirty, or too contaminated to clean) is to use it as energy source (thermal recycling). When recycling is not undertaken, in landfills PET is stable and inert with no leaching or groundwater risk. Bottles are crushed to very small volume, take up relatively little space, and generally add a degree of stability to the landfill.